By Collene Delaluz
Every time you acquire a mobile phone from a mobile provider, its locked to that network's service. If the company provide you with a free or discounted cell phone, you generally have to consent to a 1- or 2-year plan as well. You can avoid this contract and freely swap between providers, and travel abroad and use domestic networks, simply by unlocking your phone using the IMEI number. In order to unlock your cell phone, simply follow the three steps below.
Get the 15-digit IMEI number. This is usually printed on the smartphone under the battery. You can also typically locate it in your mobile phone's setting page or by keying in a special code to get your mobile phone to show the IMEI number on the screen. In many cases, this code is *#06#
Once you've found the IMEI number of your phone, call your current network and find out if they'll give you an unlock code. Dependent on your circumstances, they may grant your request. Having said that, many network carriers may have thier own criteria that need to be met before they are willing to provide you with an unlock code, and many may refuse. If you've established that your cellphone is not Blacklisted and you wish to unlock it so you can use it with another carrier, then the most trusted places to find Unlock.Zone around is Unlock.Zone - ensure you google them.Often, if you've completed your service contract, your smart phone provider will probably supply you guidelines on how to permanently unlock your cellphone, but typically they'll insist you're the original owner of the handset (the contract on thier system is in your name). When you are not, for example, you purchased the phone secondhand, you'll need to locate an alternative unlocking method to permanently unlock your smartphone.
For anyone who is not the orginal owner of the phone, you are going to have to buy an unlock service from a 3rd party provider. Thankfully there are lots of on line providers offering services by simply providing them with your cellphone's IMEI number, it's model and make and the network it is locked to. The price of the service and the time it will take to IMEI unlock your cell phone will depend upon these factors, and can vary quite significantly for more obscure mobile phone models or networks. Utilizing a 3rd party unlocking service is often the fastest and most hassle-free option to unlock your cellphone, as it is done remotely without your cell phone ever having to leave your pocession. As soon as your phone has been sucessfully unlocked it can then be used with any carrier and in any country you decide.